Saturday, April 6, 2013

The wisdom of Samwise Gamgee

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.”  

In watching Lord of the Rings, Samwise Gamgee taught me three things.

1. Never forsake a friend, no matter what.

2. There is always hope, even when things seem the darkest.

3. To always have strength in the face of adversity.

"There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."

When I first began writing my novel, I had no plans for my characters. I was thirteen and just writing a story for fun. It was going to be full of adventure and suspense and awesome battles and duplicity. It was only until after I had finished the book and began growing up myself that I discovered there was more to a story than just great plots.

Embedding personality, appeal, and emotion into my characters proved to me more of an adventure than all the plotlines together. At first I had no idea what kind of personalities I even wanted them to have or what I wanted those personalities to accomplish.
"I don't know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can't turn back. It isn't right to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want - I don't rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand me."                

Gradually as I began to understand the development of characters in other books, movies, and people around me. The more I recognized certain quirks, traits, and behaviors, the more I was able to map out what kind of person I wanted to create in each of my characters.
When I first watched Lord of the Rings, I was struck my Samwise's part in the Trilogy. Basically, with no Sam, there is no story. At least, no story worth telling. Pretty sure it would all be doom and despair, because Frodo would have given in to the Ring and everything good would have been destroyed.
And I began to want to create characters like that. Characters that are indispensable. Irreplaceable.
It's quite fun.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Once Upon a Time linkup: Disaster

Well, it has been a good long while since I did the linkup and I thought to myself, I had better get back on board.

This prompt, disaster, came to me because it fits very well with the ending of my first novel.

So, this extract comes from In the Shadow, #1 of the Endless Fire Trilogy.

save me...


© Pure Grace
Word Count: 413


For a moment the room was still.
Merrie felt the panic rise in her as it drew on. All she could think was, Oh, God, I am caught. I can’t deny this one. There’s no way out…no way out… Julia has won. Merrie’s mouth wouldn’t work. She parted numb lips, her mouth as dry as a bad fig, and tried to run her thick tongue over stiffened lips.
“Tell me that is not what I think it is…” Claudia breathed.
Merrie swallowed and turned to her, ready to explain. The look on Claudia’s face stopped her.
“Tertia, you don’t know how this got here, do you?” Claudia turned to the girl on the couch.
Tertia looked from Claudia to Merrie, face stricken, scared to death.
“No!” she squeaked. “No! I have no idea.”
“Merrie?” Claudia turned to her. “What is this?”
Merrie tried to breathe. Every breath seemed constricted, like a huge stone crushed her chest. “I…I don’t know why it…where it…” she stopped, voice breaking off with a crack.
“Tertia, out.”
The girl rose and fled the room. Merrie stared at the curtains swinging into place behind her, breath hot and heavy in her lungs.
Disappointment flooded Claudia’s face. “I cannot believe it.”
Merrie stood sick, dry mouthed and burning all over. She could see everything falling away from her at once. Her home, her peace, her security…
“Nay,” she whispered, trembling. She caught her breath, paralyzed with dread, and watched Claudia’s eyes turn icy. Sweat broke out on her upper lip and she tasted salt on her tongue. “It was…not me!” She choked on the words. How could she possibly make Claudia understand? Her lips parted, desperate for the right words. There had to be away. Tears were stinging her eyes and she turned them up to Claudia, running her tongue along her lips. But the depth was gone from Claudia’s eyes. Nothing remained on her face but disconnected misery. All at once, Merrie felt the hope drain from her. I am lost. There is no way to right this now. What can mere words say against such proof as this?
She closed her eyes. It was over. She could feel it, deep down in her belly, as though something had been ripped out of her. There was no escape from this one. Julia had triumphed in her final maneuver. Merrie had been flirting with Julia’s treachery for too long and she was caught.
So be it.

Join the Once Upon a Time... linkup:Post a selection from your current WIP no larger than 500 words to your blog.
If there is a prompt, make sure your section fits the requirements.
Add the Once Upon a Time... linkup button: 


Connect your link using the linkup button on Wednesday or Thursday!
And voila, you are done! Don't forget to visit the other blogs and drop a line.

Also, Katie over at Whispering of Pens is hosting a Writing Contest. You can find it here: She is offering some fun prizes and I think it will be neat to see all the winning entries!! Go check it out!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Giveaway

Congratulations, Treskie!!! You were drawn to receive the little chest for my January/February/March giveaway!!!

If you could please leave your email in the comment box I will get your address and mail this out to you as soon as possible!!! :D
And now, for the next giveaway! Which I am very excited about!!! It is sooo pretty!!!
It is this WONDERFUL little notebook. The binding is made of faux leather, super soft and crafty. It is about six inches tall and four inches across. Very adorable and fits right into your hand.
Here are the usual rules!
1: must be a member of Stories in the Mind
2: loves to read!!! :)
3: comment on the blog in one post other than this one
4: tell me what your favorite book is and why! {if you have done this, feel free to skip it and I will add you in for the 4th tag anyway, just let me know you have completed it}
5: give me one reason why I should pick you. JK!! share the giveaway on your blog and send me the link

The giveaway is open internationally. If you have questions, just shoot me a comment below!!! :D
And thanks to all you regular entries! I look forward to seeing who will take home this awesome prize!!! :D

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm not dead, just almost

Breath in. Breath out. I turn the music up, drowning out my own thoughts. The seconds tick away, scrambling any sense of organization I might have had. The speed of my fingers over the keyboard could start a fire.

I tried so hard. But I couldn't make it. I had so little to go...and the clock struck twelve.

Ok, happy April Fools. That was a poor joke, really, but I felt I must make something. You can't post today without cracking SOME sort of joke. The truth is...
I made it.
I cannot believe I did it! I am so happy I could jump off a skyscraper and die happy!! ;)
So, what's next?
First off, I am going to officially copyright it with the Library of Congress. Then it is mine. And mine alone... hehe *evil laugh* I am so greedy. ;)
Then it will be going to my beta-readers and I will be getting some serious thoughts and opinions on it. That is the fun part. I love getting feedback from others, even if it's not always encouraging or nice. Because then I can make it better!!! :D
While I am doing that, I will begin querying. That means writing out a query letter, finding publishers I wouldn't mind letting print my book, and beginning the process of building a relationship with them. I want a long-term publisher, someone who will understand that this is just the first book of three and will be willing to print them all. I have to admit I abhor series that are published all over the board with different publishers and covers... It looks so tacky. And this is not the only book/series {I still call in one book even though it's broken up into a trilogy} I am writing. It would be cool if they would be interested in publishing my future novels too.
And that will hopefully end with me having my first book published! Like I said, I'm so excited. I can't believe it happened! I finished over 60 pages of tough editing in 11 or so days {or so because I didn't actually edit every day... in fact, I only edited about five of them. That resulted in three panic days on the 20th, 30th, and 31st. And one 2 in the morning stay awake... :P}
The bad thing about hitting one goal is having to make another.... So, who's up for round two? The second book in the trilogy is shorter than the first. I'm wondering if I could make it in one month. I don't know if I want to try.
Last but not least, you all get a treat!
Two snippets, from the last two chapters of In the Shadow. One from the last Merrie chapter, the other from the last Ionez chapter. Enjoy!!! And let me know what you think of them!!! :D
Word count: 117
© Pure Grace

Merrie trembled as she met Antistius’s eyes. The look in his face scared her. She struggled to master her voice. “I did not do it,” she whispered.
Antistius gasped, incredulous.
“She is lying, Father,” Messalina snapped. “She wants only to protect herself.”
“I do not doubt it,” Antistius agreed. He gestured to Manus. “Come forward, Nubian.”
Merrie swallowed, her whole body protesting. Heart pounding against her ribs, she closed her eyes. This could not be true. It must be a dream, a giant nightmare. She had to wake up. Could one feel pain in a dream?
Antistius’s eyes glimmered as he turned on Manus. “See if we can remind Merrie of the truth. Begin with three lashes.”

Word count: 189
© Pure Grace
When she could run no more Ionez stopped and found herself in the garden with the frescoes covering the walls. The vivid images, of Romans spilling blood, of the tribes of the world falling beneath their silver swords, of death and anger and gore, stirred her soul. She wondered how long it would take them to find her and kill her. She expected nothing less. Aelia would not even look at her again. She wondered how she would die. Crucified? Beheaded? Flayed? The tortures of Rome slid through her mind like an oozy picture and she shuddered. Perhaps if she were fortunate, they would just resell her.
She spun about abruptly and slammed her fist into the garden wall, feeling the plaster crumble beneath her knuckles. Sticky blood seeped from her cracked skin. She swore, softly at first, then louder and louder, until she was screaming. Worthless! This life was worthless. How long would it go on like this, another scheme to devise, another plot to fail? She had been given everything into her grasp and she had destroyed it in one heedless moment. Would she never defeat herself?